The term “fit for office” is often bandied about when talking about the US presidency, but how exactly does physical fitness relate to the office or to presidential campaigning? To explore that question, I recently spoke with Jon Finkel, author of Jocks in Chief. In our conversation, Jon shared the system that he came up with to rank the athleticism of the 44 individuals who thus far have served as president, and we discussed how various presidents approached exercise in their lives as well as how impressions of the vigor of some presidential candidates impacted their campaigns and historical legacies.
To mark the occasion of the 45th president’s first speech to a joint session of Congress, I present to you this special episode on how presidents have communicated with other politicians and government officials as well as with the general public and how this has changed both with the advent of new technologies and with the varying personalities of the chief executives. From George Washington’s public levees and national tours to Abraham Lincoln’s effective use of the telegraph, from Theodore Roosevelt’s bully pulpit to the Johnson treatment, and from the installation of the White House telephone to the current president’s use of Twitter, this episode covers a great deal of ground. Sources used for this episode can be found at http://presidencies.blubrry.com.